Mastercard Gold Card Review

Best for: High rollers and travelers looking for the crème de la crème of credit cards with airport lounge access and fee credits.

The Mastercard Gold Card boasts benefits and advantages as shiny and prestigious as its 24k gold-plated exterior. For the uncompromising luxury traveler, the Mastercard Gold offers access to a large collection of airport lounges all around the globe, complimentary airport escorts to speed you through security and check-in as well as a variety of travel protections. If you’re into refined travel full of the finer things in life and aren’t afraid of a high annual fee, the Mastercard Gold Card can provide you with an upgraded experience that can elevate any trip.

The basics

  • APR: 16.49% variable for purchases; 0% balance transfer intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles within the first 45 days and16.99% after intro period is over.
  • Annual Fee: $995; $295 for each authorized user.
  • Rewards Rates: Earn 1X point for every one dollar you spend, but you get 2% value for airfare and cash back redemptions.
  • Intro offer: No intro offer or sign-up bonus.

Standout features

  • Fee credits: Cardmembers will receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees, so you can zip through airport security and customs faster than everyone else.
  • High redemption value: You can receive 2% value for airfare redemptions and 2% value for cash back redemption. There are no airfare restrictions and blackout dates when you’re ready to use your rewards. If you choose cash back, it can be deposited directly into a U.S. bank account or applied as a statement credit. 
  • Travel protections: For travelers who want protection for their trips, you can get baggage delay insurance and travel accident insurance by booking your travel with your Mastercard Gold Card. You’ll also get access to complimentary travel assistance services. Plus, if your trip is canceled or interrupted, you’ll get reimbursement for your expenses.
  • Airport escort: If you really want a more prestigious airport experience, is there anything more luxurious than your own representative who can meet and escort you through the airport process?
  • Luxury Travel Program: This program includes more than 3,000 properties internationally, and when you stay at these select locations, you’ll get extra benefits like spa and resort credits, complimentary food and room upgrades.
  • Priority Pass Select Membership: This awesome perk gets you into most airport lounges around the world where you can wait for your flight away from the hustle and bustle of the airport gates.
  • Metal construction: If you value that satisfying weight of a metal card, you’ll be pleased to know that the Mastercard Gold Card weighs a whopping 22 grams — that’s more than most other luxury metal cards out on the market.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge: Get help with travel bookings, personal requests and more. There are no hidden fees associated with this service; you can simply get help from dedicated agents for lifestyle management tailored to your specific needs. Save money and time so you can focus on making the most of your rewards.
  • If you’re a big shopper, you’ll also appreciate the included Mastercard ID theft protection and ShopRunner free two-day shipping available for over 100 stores.

Best way to use this card

If you’re debating whether or not to invest in this card, one of your biggest concerns is probably whether or not you can cancel out that high annual fee. You’ll see the most value from this card by taking advantage of the card’s 2% redemption rate for cash back or airfare. But to truly make the most of this card and cancel out the high upfront cost, you’ll need to be a big spender that puts at least $50,000 or more per year on your card. Then, you’ll need to redeem all of those earned points for either cash back or airfare.

In addition to the travel or cash back redemption value, there are tons of secondary benefits for cardmembers you can leverage. If you’re a frequent traveler, for example, you are probably already familiar with the unpredictability of weather and the resulting travel delays. However, with the Mastercard Gold Card, you’ll automatically receive trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. Plus, having access to thousands of airport lounges across the world as well as expedited screening, thanks to Global Entry or TSA Precheck certainly makes any trip far more pleasant.

In a nutshell

If prestigious perks are a make-or-break part of your travel experience, the Mastercard Gold Card might be a valuable option for you. But this luxury card only makes sense if you are a high spender and you’re able to recoup the high annual fee in the form of airfare and cash back rewards. If you don’t want to aim for those high spending targets or feel like you’d end up overspending in order to attempt to neutralize your high annual fee, there are other luxury travel cards with similar benefits with lower annual costs.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve features a significantly lower annual fee of $550 and offers great travel earning rates. For example, you can earn 10X points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022. Plus, you can earn 3X points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants. While the Mastercard Gold Card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers can receive up to 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account activation. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Mastercard Gold Card offer travel protection benefits and no foreign transaction fees, so the right one for you will come down to your spending and lifestyle preferences.

Michelle Wilson

Michelle Wilson is a San Diego-based writer specializing in the topics of personal finance, technology, and culture. You can find her writing on sites such as HP Tech Takes, The Simple Dollar, and San Diego Magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys finding new cats to follow on Instagram.